20 March 2018


The Northern California hippie/university/burnout enclave of Eureka/Arcata has periodic blips on the DIY radar every few years. I played a teen center there on my first tour in 1992 (I remember the show being really good....but it was my first tour so everything felt like magic), and there were some good stops there during my first stint in California. But it was SAKÉ who really put the region on the map for most 1990s DIY punks, with art/anarcho punk showered with violin that was most widely distributed on their split LP with Vancouver's SUBMISSION HOLD. I don't think any of their recordings (the split, a 10", an EP and a demo....perhaps there's more?) hold a candle to their live shows, which is perhaps why SAKÉ is relegated to cult status amongst West Coasters...but I would argue that THE GODS might have been even better. Known at the time to most of us as "Roshawn's other band, THE GODS are quintessential '90s East Bay hardcore with influences that can only be described as "out there." Fiercely aggressive hardcore with multiple vocals and an approach to construction that clearly adheres to no rules but their own. The recording is raw and the presentation is real, eschewing pretense for intensity, I only saw them once and I think this demo might be the entirety of their output. "Salt Lick" and "2nd Street" are the pure bangers, though I would take any of the contained material whenever offered. Take early '90s-era NEUROSIS, ECONOCHRIST, PAXTON QUIGGLY and the like as reference points, and cure the whole thing in a mist and weed infested coastal paradise riddled with heroin and methamphetamines. True outsider music, made out of necessity. 

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